Industry Update
Opinion Article 7 June 2017

The sharing economy is just the beginning for the change in business travel

By Pieter van de Glind, co-founder shareNL and Harmen van Sprang, co-founder at shareNL

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Pieter   van de GlindPieter van de Glind
Harmen   van SprangHarmen van Sprang

Business travel is a trillion dollar industry that is just about ready to go online and in the midst of going mobile. Only a fraction of the industry has embraced the sharing economy, Airbnb for instance, accounted for only 0,27 percent of lodging expenses in 2016. This signals a huge untapped potential. What steps can you take to go after this one trillion opportunity?

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PART I: Don't miss the platform train.

From the Apple store, to Youtube, to Uber, to Airbnb. The world's most successful companies are all platforms connecting supply and demand directly. This offers many advantages but one of those is the diversification of the supply. Whether it is the types of homes on Airbnb, or the content on Youtube, no single company could offer a supply as diverse as platforms do.

One hotel chain that got on the platform train is Room Mate Hotels. Through their own platform called BeMate, they allow private apartments to be rented out the same way Airbnb does, but fully serviced. Here's what this innovation brings to Room Mate Hotels:

  1. Without having to invest in infrastructure, the company is enlarging its supply.
  2. By offering all additional services, like 24 hour reception, key exchange, breakfast, transport, this concept strikes the right balance between a unique accommodation that feels like home, and the professionalism of a hotel.
  3. By diversifying its supply, this hotel chain gets to know a new consumer segment and is a frontrunning player in catering the business traveler of tomorrow.
  4. The online platform is an ideal place to test out new technologies.
  5. The online platform is an ideal place to connect to other travel services.

The Room Mate, BeMate concept is a telling example of how traditional hotel owners are able to match and sometimes surpass the newcomers. One can imagine similar concepts from restaurants and home restaurants, but also in mobility and tours. One thing is for sure. If you cannot jump on the platform train today, you lack the basis for implementing new technologies such as Blockchain, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Robots tomorrow.

This is part 1 of a 5 part series on the change in business travel. Next: Go hustle free with blockchain and IoT.

By Pieter van de Glind & Harmen van Sprang - co-founders of shareNL

Pieter van de Glind

Pieter is one of the co-founders of shareNL, the knowledge and networking platform working to reshape society through addressing the opportunities and challenges of the collaborative economy. He is also one of the co-founders of the Sharing Cities Alliance, an independent foundation that fosters city-to-city learning, and guides and empowers city governments from all continents to improve the lives of their citizens.

More from Pieter van de Glind

Harmen van Sprang

Harmen is one of the co-founders of shareNL, the knowledge and networking platform working to reshape society through addressing the opportunities and challenges of the collaborative economy. Harmen is also one of the co- founders of the Sharing Cities Alliance, an independent foundation that fosters city-to-city learning, and guides and empowers city governments from all continents to improve the lives of their citizens.

More from Harmen van Sprang
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